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Bird protection in wind turbines

IoT Use Case -
4 minutes Reading time
4 minutes Reading time

About SELA®

The system for detecting agricultural activities, abbreviated SELA®, is an installation for automatic detection of agricultural activities around wind energy plants. According to the laws on nature conservation and environmental protection, wind turbines must be shut down in order not to harm endangered bird species through the rotor blades. ATEG Automation GmbH has developed the SELA® by using Red Lion’s automation solutions, which recognize agricultural activities and switchthe wind turbine to spin mode, which is safe for birds.


  • Simple, intuitive operation – remotely via app or at the plant on site.
  • Shorter downtimes due to automated switch-off and switch-on.
  • Reduced effort for control and documentation thanks to automation.
  • Terminates manual night release of the plant by automatic day- night switching.
  • Logging and e-mail sending of alarm and status messages.
  • Easier Simple and fast approval processes for wind turbines.
  • Simple integration into systems thanks to universal interfaces.
  • GDPR compliance through the use of infrared cameras.

The problem

Agricultural work such as mowing, harvesting and soil-turning attract wind energy-sensitive bird species like the red kite, lesser spotted eagle, stork or buzzard in their search for food. Legislation therefore, demands that wind turbines must be switched off during and after the work at daytime in order to minimize the risk of killing. The shutdown of the turbines was previously coordinated between the wind turbine operator and the farmer, often resulting in illegal operation or unnecessary downtimes of the turbines. Legislation sanctions violations with high penalties, including the shutdown of the turbine and therefore loss of production.

The Challenge

Reliable detection of agricultural vehicles and automated shutdown of the wind turbine during and after field work.

Operators of wind turbines need a functionally reliable and animal welfare- compliant system for the automated shutdown of the turbine systems, including notification of the system shutdown and corresponding logging. The system must comply with nature and environmental protection as well as allowing maximum production time. A differentiation must also be made between day and night. Furthermore, the operator must be able to access the control system remotely to check notifications about the turbine status and release the turbine for production in the event of a false alarm. Once the agricultural work has been complete and the prescribed downtimes observed, the wind turbine must be released automatically.

The Solution

The main elements of the SELA® system are infrared cameras mounted on the wind turbine’s column, and Red Lion’s FlexEdge® DA70A Advanced IIoT Gateway powered by Crimson® automation software.

The cameras’ infrared measurement technology independently detects vehicles during agricultural activities and sends this information to the DA70A in the wind turbine’s control cabinet. The integrated software Crimson controls the run-related operating times and switches the wind turbine into the non-hazardous spin mode accordingly. Furthermore, the operator is notified of the idle mode via SMS. The operator checks the transmitted profile image of the activities and evaluates the shutdown into spin mode as justified or restarts the turbine after a false alarm. An unjustified shutdown of wind turbines leads to significant profit losses.

Per twilight mode, the system also distinguishes between night and day mode, as the switch-off is only needed during the day. Manual switch-off and switch-on during twilight are no longer necessary. In the on-site wind turbine, data can additionally be entered or retrieved manually via Red Lion’s HMI operator unit CR3000.

The SELA® system is available in various expansion stages for new installations and for retrofitting existing installations. Depending on requirements, individual sections or the entire environment can be detected up to a range of 250 meters.

The FlexEdge series

The FlexEdge® OT/IT gateways powered by the automation software Crimson 3.2 provide an optimized automation solution for applications where operational data must be provided and processed. Red Lion’s integrated software Crimson is an intuitive interface for monitoring, recording, converting, and visualizing data and thus an optimal OT/IT conversion of the collected data.

The universal, exchangeable “Sled” interfaces of the FlexEdge series are a further advantage as they offer low integration effort for all plant control systems. In the event of a standard change, e.g. 4G to 5G, the relevant sled can be replaced on-site in the running application. The cellular connection is realized via OpenVPN and thus provides secure remote access. The platform is ATEX-certified for harsh environments.

The application

Wind turbine overview

Text taken over from original – Red Lion Europe GmbH

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